5 Things We Learned in Our First Year
Wasn’t it only last week that we started Studio Lenzing? Yet, here we are, 365 plus a few days later, blown away by everything we have learned so far.
It has been a fun, diverse and challenging year. A year that has taught us a lot about ourselves — work-wise and as humans. Could there be a better start for this blog than sharing our five biggest lessons with you? Probably not. So here we go.
01 It’s okay to say “no“
Yes, there are days when you might want or need to impress your client. But saying „yes“ to demands and working conditions that do not suit your work and personal style won’t help with that.
If your client asks you to deliver after a day, but you are sure as hell to need two, say no.
If you get a spontaneous job offer for a big client who expects you to submit within a week, which would mean a bunch of overtime-hours plus cancelling a family event which means a lot to you — then don’t. It’s okay to say no. It’s also okay to say no when a new project doesn’t fit your values or vision.
As a matter of fact, it’s quite necessary to say no. Because every „no“ sets boundaries. Every „no“ supports you standing up to your needs and values. Every „no“ is a „yes“ to yourself and the kind of business you want to have and shape.
02 Networking is key
A good network is already half the rent for a well-founded business. It’s a cliché and — from our point of view — absolutely true.
Having a good network doesn’t only help when looking for / attracting new projects, but also when it comes to exciting interdisciplinary work. A good network introduces you to copywriters, brand communications designers, researchers and alike, who can all contribute to and extend your service portfolio. That’s not only attractive to new clients but also brings more fun and diversity into your work routine.
03 Take time for yourself
Yes, you love your job. Yes, you love your team. Yes, you want to be successful. Sometimes that means working on the weekend or late into the night. It’s okay every once in a while. But if you still want to be here in a year or two — healthy and successful — it is inevitable to take time off as well.
Let your body speak for itself and its needs. If it needs rest, allow it. If it needs a longer lunch break, allow it. Just like in professional sports, it is rest and distance from work, a state of deep inner calmness, which makes you regain new strength. No matter how hard you work or how much stress a project brings, you don’t want it to take all the fun out of work.
Even on busy days it’s okay and important to allow yourself some space and room. Go buy a new plant for your office, get some nice coffee table magazines or whatever feels right. Take a Friday off or decide on one day per week that you spend improving your physical facilities, working on your own website, blog or whatever. Balance is the keyword. Work and rest. Be serious and joke around. Dive in — but also tune out.
04 Know what you need
The best thing about running your own Studio: Being your own boss. Take this freedom and use it to shape your work environment exactly how you need it.
Why? Well, that’s easy: Every person is unique. And so are our needs, desires and work-related demands. Make sure to set general rules that create the working climate and environment that you need. At Studio Lenzing that means a good coffee machine and a lot of silence.
However, one of the most important factors — to us — is the team that you are working with. Who inspires you? Who completes you? Who challenges you — in a good way? Make sure to get the right people on board. People that lift you up rather than weighing you down.
Knowing what you need also entails physical circumstances such as your furniture, decoration etc., and general questions like work times, breaks and communication rules. In the end it’s quite simple: You own it. So own it.
05 Communication is everything
If we had to decide on one thing that matters most to our work it’s this: Honest and sincere communication. Communication is what connects us all. It makes us feel understood and heard. It gives us the space to express our feelings, ideas and needs. So, whatever is going on, talk about it. Is your workload okay? Can someone support you with anything? What is the best way to distribute a new project’s work tasks?
A good communicative method to start the day at the same level is a short check-in in the morning. How do we feel? Which projects are we working on right now? What do we need support with?
We truly believe that you can solve almost every problem — if only you talk about it.